Rental prices for empty stores in Grimsby revealed - and compared to other towns and cities

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 May 2017

Every pound spent locally is helping our economy and supporting families in North East Lincolnshire.

That is the rallying call to shoppers from a property agent urging residents to get behind local traders.

Lawrence Brown, managing partner of Scotts Property, said if people want to attract business to Grimsby they had to spend more in the town centre.

He said: "If people want shops to come here, they have to shop here and not head down the road to Lincoln or elsewhere. It is incumbent on everyone to support their town centre. Lets get behind our traders."

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His comments came as the availability of shops in Grimsby increased.

Mr Brown said: "There are opportunities to those who have the experience, the entrepreneurial flare and the drive."

If you have ever considered opening you own shop in Grimsby, there is a wide range of different shops available to rent, he said.

Figures released by the Local Data Company, in conjunction with the British Independent Retailers Association, show more have-a-go entrepreneurs opened for business in many areas of the country last year, including neighbouring North Lincolnshire which saw a rise of 1.5 per cent.

However, that was not the case in Grimsby, where the figure fell by 1.7 per cent.

Matthew Hopkinson, spokesman for the Local Data Company, said: "Independents are becoming ever more important to our high streets."

The general rule is the level of rent is based on how many square feet of space you are renting, but clearly location is a big factor.

So how to rents compare in Grimsby?

Lease site shows rents in Freshney Place Shopping Centre are being offered from between £25,000 up to £150,000 per year.

The site currently has 22 units available in the centre, although it is not clear if all of them are current vacancies.

They include the former Bodycare unit, 3,012 sq ft at £150,000 pa, a 594 sq ft unit once called Princess at £60,000 pa, the former Julian Graves, 446 sq ft at £35,000 pa, down to the former Health Rack (previously Tie Rack) at £25,000 pa.

Last week, at a planning inspectorate hearing on the Local Plan for North East Lincolnshire, Mark Harris spoke on behalf of Grimsby Shopping Centre Ltd, which owns and manages Freshney Place.

He raised concerns over two sites allocated in the draft for "comprehensive retail development", saying it could have a negative impact on the centre, which is already under pressure with increasing retail vacancies.

He confirmed his firm has received no bidders on the large retail space made vacant by BHS after its closure, and that in the past five or six years, the vacancy rate in Freshney Place has risen from five per cent to 26 per cent.

However, plans are pushing ahead for a new nine-screen cinema and seven national restaurant chains as part of the £20 million Freshney Place Riverhead development.

Amanda Austin, centre director of Freshney Place Shopping Centre, said that contrary to popular belief, rental levels at Grimsby's premier shopping centre are at market value or below and are not a prohibitive factor when attracting new retailers to the area."We're working very hard as a centre to attract new retailers to Freshney Place," she said.

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"We have recently seen successful lettings to retailers such as Yours, extensions and refurbishments to popular retailers such as Costa, JD, The Perfume Shop and The Works – not forgetting the significant improvements seen to our car park and toilet facilities.

"We are keen to attract more retailers and always work closely with the landlord and leasing agents to do so. Retail is an ever-changing environment and retailers are adapting and changing the way they operate, and Freshney Place is therefore also changing and adapting – with work to upsize the Primark store from 10,000 sq ft to 47,000 sq ft nearing completion for handing over to the retailer for shop fitting in the summer.

"Along with recent new lettings, the centre has also been successful in retaining retailers at renewal, including Trespass, Office Shoes and Pandora. There is real confidence in Freshney Place as a shopping centre and this is demonstrated in these lettings and also by the retailers investing in their stores.

"We are always keen to support local and independent retailers with rental deals, and will also shortly be announcing details of our exciting new retailer competition - which will give one local entrepreneur the chance to win a shop."

So how do Freshney Place rents compare with others in the area or other nearby towns?

Number 36, Bargate, which was earmarked for a Tesco store and was previously home to Grimsby's Conservative Association, is available at a rent of £56,000 per year and has 2,641 sq ft, but 5,240 including basement, ground and first floor office space, available on a 20-year leasehold with a five-year review. The rates are £3,872 per year.

Elsewhere in the town centre, the former Margaret Adams Law premises in Osborne Street are being advertised for £15,000 pa, while a former salon next to Body Shop is available for £8,000 pa.

A ground-floor office/retail space in the Cartergate development by North East Lincolnshire Council is being offered for lease, although the price is on enquiry.

In comparison at Hull's St Stephen's shopping centre, there is a store with 7,268 sq ft of floor space for rent at £313,291 and another outlet with 3,650 sq ft at £144,950 per annum.
But, it was reported last month, 17 leases are up this year at the Hull shopping centre: It is understood Zara is leaving the centre as it is not prepared to pay the rent rise proposed by the centre owners British Land, while Dorothy Perkins has blamed online shopping for deciding not to renew their lease.

Sports Direct is also set to leave next spring as it moves to its new premises in the old Poundland store across Ferensway. Other stores whose lease is up for renewal at St Stephen's include Next, Domo, New Look, Select, Peacocks, Nandos, The Body Shop and Greggs.

But it's difficult to compare Grimsby, a town, with the draw of a city like Hull.

In Scunthorpe, in The Parishes, there is an area of 20,964 sq ft available at £270,000 pa, while another has 19,424 sq ft on ground, first and second floors at rent of £200,000 per year. A smaller, 5,472 sq ft of floor space is marketed at £99,000 per annum.

At The Foundry in Scunthorpe, a 1,784 sq ft space is up for £52,500 with other rents around £35,000, while in Scunthorpe High Street, a 2,316 sq ft store is available at £70,000.

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